Dust to its kindred dust,
In hope we yield,—the earth shall keep its trust,
Till Christ the Lord of all from Heaven shall come,
Anew to mould it for His glorious home.
Whose dust is this that sleeps awhile, to rise
Quick at that day-dawn, and to scale the skies?
Whose dust is this which Jesus then will claim,
And ransom from its charnel-house of shame?
He was a man of God, whose dust we lay
Beneath the sod, with stricken hearts to-day;
A guileless man,—an Israelite indeed,—
From scornful pride, from sordid passion freed;
Whose heart with true and deep affections thrilled,—
In tenderest sympathy, how wondrous skilled!
Who, void of self, made others’ care his own,
While his own burden, oft he bare alone.
A single eye was his,—one purpose ran
Through all his life,—a consecrated man
Was he to God, by whose pure word of truth,
He sought to live e’en from his very youth.
Such was the man, whose hallowed dust to-day,
Deep in the ground, with reverent hearts we lay,
Midst love’s deep sighs, and many a gushing tear,
So freely poured around his silent bier.
What made this man so lovely? ah, we trace
The Spirit’s impress in each trait of grace;—
Whate’er we loved in him, whate’er admired,
Was by that Spirit’s quickening breath inspired;
’Twas from this spring his inner life began,—
The life of faith and love,—his former man,
His lovely or unlovely self, had died,
When first he learned of Jesus crucified—
The surety found by God—whose death should be
The ransom price, to set the guilty free.
He saw, he trusted,—felt the secret love
Of God in Christ,—his heart’s affections move
With impulse new,—nor self he serveth more,
Not now his own, he’s Christ’s for evermore.
The Cross with all its grace was now his rest,
And thence the motive power that fired his breast,
Dead to the world, with Him who there was slain,
And raised with Him, in Him he lived again;
Not I, but Christ, his lips and life declare,
Who bore the shame, the honour now should bear,—
And hence the spring perennial, that sustained
His life in freshness, long as life remained.
True to his Lord, his heart its treasures laid
Low at His feet, and constant fealty paid;
His mind of rarest mould, and wealthy store,
Dug from the depths of rich recondite lore,—
His mind which never took the vassal guise,
But free of all, the truth alone would prize,—
That mind, intelligent, consents to bow
To Jesus, with implicit homage now;
He might have won a place of high renown,
And wreathed his brow with honours, as a crown;—
But no! his Master’s fellowship he loved,
His spirit and His service, he approved,
And in His church, amongst His poor would dwell,
Share in its conflict, all its sorrows feel,
Feed it with truth and love,—yet, all his days,
Nor ask a recompence, nor covet praise!
Hushed be the strife of tongues, the discord’s din,
Such sacrifice bespake the grace within;
Wisdom is justified of all, and he
Who self denied,—oh, let his name go free,—
Free from the thought that he could e’er betray,
The Master he thus served,—in evil day.
Patient he laboured on, and meekly strove,
Ungenerous thoughts to recompence with love,
Sufficed to know his Master’s gracious smile,
His Master’s seal upon his work the while,
Trophies of grace proclaim the work was sure,
Midst wreck of worlds, this witness will endure;—
Hushed be the strife of tongues, man’s day is past,
He rests where strife is done, and stormy blast!
And what a light shone round his dying bed,
Grace in his heart, and on his lips was shed,—
The name of Jesus,—as a sweet perfume,
Was whispered oft, and banished fear and gloom;
Death seemed not nigh, but life,—who entered there,
Saw as Heaven’s light, and felt its balmy air;
Jesus, unseen, was nigh, His servant’s stay,
His long tried love, the cheer in life’s decay;—
Who honour me, I honour,—precious word,
The faithful servant found a faithful Lord!
When death drew on apace, he murmured not,
The Lord he loved, and served, should fix his lot;
Fain would he live, the Shepherd’s flock to feed,
If of his life the Shepherd yet had need,—
But if his Lord shall call him to his breast,
Twere better to depart with Him to rest.
And there he resteth now, his service done,
His conflict ended, and the Victory won!
His dust now laid to dust, awhile to sleep,
Waits for the morn when eyes no more shall weep,—
That morning with its joy which hasteneth on,
Such as on sorrow’s night hath never shone,—
Redemption’s morn, when all the firstborn host,
Gathered from every sea, from every coast,
Shall at the Bridegroom’s quickening voice arise,
And speed with joy to meet him in the skies;
While on each brow His likeness he will trace,
The last, the crowning, perfect, touch of grace!
Thus meet for fellowship, th’ adorned Bride
Shall with her Bridegroom evermore abide.
Jesus! to thee we turn,—thy servant’s place
Is vacant now,— thy plenitude of grace
Alone can fill the void,—to thee we cling,
Our Joy, our fulness, in life’s sojourning.
Be to the sorrowing ones that feel thy hand.
The shadow of a rock in weary land;
The widow’s riven heart, the children’s breast,
Fill with thyself, and be their joy, their rest.
And when the little flock Thy servant fed,
Sorrow submissive, bow the knee, the head,
In prayer, in trust,—let living springs from Thee,
Refresh our hearts, enrich our penury;
And may our chastening yield us full increase
In fruit of righteousness, and love, and peace;
Nor hearts decline, nor feet be turned aside,
But where Thou feed’st Thy flock, with Thee abide;
Our bond, Thy name—Thy word, our rule may be,
And in Thy yoke be found our liberty.
Nor these alone,—Thy saints on every hand,
Strangers on earth, who seek the fatherland,
Keep in thy fellowship,—that, one with Thee,
Thy church, the witness of Thyself may be,—
The herald of thy cross—salvation’s power,
And of thy coming—glory’s advent hour!